As I started my 29th year at Booker T. this week, I felt as grateful to be a part of this community and this school as I did in 1993 when I began. Leading this school is a responsibility I take very seriously.
It has been wonderful to welcome the students back to school. I know that they were excited, nervous, amazed, full of questions, but overall happy to be off the screen and in the classroom. Thank you for joining me at the orientation last week.
Schedules & Class Assignments: All students have received their schedule and class assignments.We are not able to make any changes at this time to language and/or elective classes. We do not yet know if there is any room for changes. At the start of the year, the rosters have to be verified and “cleaned up”. Students travel with their homeroom class to all of their classes with the exception of their language and music elective. Each teacher distributed a syllabus/letter this week to their classes. If you have not seen them, talk to your children.
Back-to-School Night: This is your opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and to hear about the year ahead. Save the date — September 23, 2021 at 6:30PM over Zoom.
Snack: I know that there was concern about a snack for 6th and 7th graders since they have such a long wait until lunch. Many teachers are allowing the students to have a snack (during period 4). They are allowing the students to eat in shifts. Some teachers are not comfortable with this compromise and we are working on an alternative plan for their classes.
Lunch: Students are eating their lunches in the flagpole courtyard. Sandwiches and cold lunches are available for all students. Students can also bring their own lunch. After they finish eating, students can go to the schoolyard to play. We hope that the library will also be open beginning next week during lunch for a limited/safe number of students.
Student MetroCards: Sixth graders’ MetroCards did not get delivered before school began. This is why there has been some delay in distributing them. Seventh and eighth graders received them earlier in the week.
Early Academy: Open office hours and intervention with ALL teachers on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 8 - 8:40AM. Early Academy begins on Tuesday, September 21st. Students enter through the flagpole courtyard. Students do not need to sign up in advance, but must arrive by 8:25AM.
Technology Survey: PLEASE complete the technology survey. This is how we will know if your child needs a device. The students will need a device at home. There will also be times (during the assessment period) when students will be asked to bring the device to school.
Jupiter: If you have not uploaded your child’s picture into Jupiter, please do so as soon as possible. Masks are making it especially hard to learn the students’ names and this will help. To do this, after logging in, click “Settings”. You will see that there are two grey boxes saying “No Photo” and links to add a photo.
Forms: We need all forms returned — Blue Emergency Cards, Ryan Health Center, and the Income Verification Form.
Water bottles: Students need a water bottle in school. Students only have access to the bottle filler part of the water fountains.
Air Circulation: We have tested the air circulation in all the classrooms to provide guidance to the teachers. There are two air-purifiers in every classroom.
Notebook & Folder Color System: Notebook organization/color-coded system is as follows:
Social Studies: Blue
Health Education: This year, Justine Fonte, an experienced health educator will be working with our teachers and students. She will be speaking to students monthly and introducing a topic which the health teachers will then be expanding on during the course of the month. Our first assembly took place this week. Ms. Fonte spoke on the topic of mental health. Ask your sixth and seventh graders about it. Eighth graders were invited to a “drop-in lunch” with Ms. Fonte. She did a short presentation and then opened it up to students’ questions.
ICT Classes: There are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classrooms on every grade level. There are two teachers in these classrooms. One teacher is the general education teacher and one is the special education teacher. There are also smaller special needs classes on every grade level. These have twelve students, one teacher, and one paraprofessional.
COVID-19 Testing: Every other week, we will have random COVID-19 testing of the unvaccinated students.
COVID-19 Response: In the event that your child is directly exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has tested positive themselves, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your child should also contact the teachers for the assignments they are missing. We are working on getting a chart that will make determining the appropriate COVID-19-related action much easier. Stay tuned, but in the meantime, if you have questions, email email@example.com. You can also review the information posted on the Planning for 2021-2022 page of the MS54 website.
Planner: Please take a look at the front pages of your student's planner. You and your children can find important school policies there.
September 15th through October 15th marks Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month. This month, we will celebrate the culture and accomplishments of people of Hispanic and Latinx descent by highlighting stories, artists, and thinkers that will inspire you.
From your favorite pop-stars to iconic civil rights heroes, athletes, writers, scientists, and visual artists, Hispanics/Latinx have shaped American history and culture from the beginning. (Hispanic refers to people who trace their heritage to a Spanish-speaking country. Latinos/Latinx refers to people who are from or are descendants of a Latin American country.) Although often left out of our historical and literary canons, the enduring contributions of Hispanics and Latinx to American society are easily uncovered.
Following are a few resources to get you started on this learning journey:
National Hispanic Heritage Month: A collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
STUDENT VACCINES @ RYAN HEALTH CENTER Ryan Health Center is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to MS54 students 12 and older every school day during the center's hours of operation (8:00am - 3:30pm). Ryan Health Center can only vaccinate students enrolled at MS54 which unfortunately does not include family members or community members. See the Ryan Health Vaccine Letter inEnglish and Spanish. Please complete the Parent Consent forms for the 2021-22 school year: Englishand Spanish.
FALL AFTER-SCHOOL REGISTRATION IS OPEN! After-School programming will be IN PERSON this fall! Classes are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, but students almost always get all their choices. Programs begin the week of September 27th, and run through the week of December 13th. Last day to register is September 20th. After-school clubs start the week of September 27th. Families will be emailed next week with the assignments. We are looking forward to a great fall session!
BOYS AND GIRLS SOCCER TEAM ROSTERS + PRACTICE
Soccer team rosters will be posted by the end of the day on Monday, September 20th. The first practice for the boys and girls teams will be on Tuesday, September 21st at 3:15pm in the Booker T. Yard.
THE PTA & SLT NEED YOU! Join us on the PTA team! Open positions include: Co-Treasurer, Co-Assistant Treasurer, Co-VP of Fundraising, Co-Recording Secretary, 6th Grade Rep, and 7th Grade Rep. Our School Leadership Team is also seeking parent nominees. If you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HELP THE MS54 PTA WHILE GETTING VACCINATED
If you, or someone you know, get a vaccination shot from an NYC-run site and mention "MS54 Booker T. PTA," the city will donate $100 to the PTA. This is a low-effort way to help the PTA at no extra cost to you. Applicable for scheduled or walk-in appointments. To find a site, visit: https://vax4nyc.nyc.gov/patient/s/.
SPECIAL YANKEE TICKETS FOR MS54 FAMILIES LINK
The Yankees are offering free backpacks, hot dogs, and drinks with these tickets, starting at $40. You can select from several games. The offer expires September 30th. We do not receive any proceeds from this, but when the Fundraising Team found out about it, we just had to share it.
VIRTUAL PTA GENERAL MEETING September 21, 2021 @ 7pm REGISTER
Please join us as we host the first PTA general meeting of the year. We'll have time after the official end time to linger and socialize, so please tell a fellow family to come, too!
WELLNESS WEDNESDAY September 22, 2021 @ 8pm REGISTER
Please join us for the first Wellness Committee meeting of the year! Tell us what's on your mind for the coming school year. Please write email@example.com with any thoughts or questions you may have.
VIRTUAL COFFEE WITH DR. ELSTER September 23, 2021 @ 8am REGISTER
Bring your coffee — and get your questions answered at the first Coffee with Dr. Elster of the year!
SAVE THE DATE: VIRTUAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT September 23, 2021 @ 6:30pm
Back-to-School Night is your opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and to hear about the year ahead. Parents will receive a schedule with zoom links.
54 WATCH PARTY: THE SOCIAL DILEMMA September 23, 2021 @ 8:15pm REGISTER
Join the Wellness Committee at a Zoom viewing party for fellow Booker T. families interested in exploring the addictiveness of social media. Heads-up: It's rated PG-13 and may cause a serious discussion. Netflix is offering the movie for free (with more than 100 million views already) until the end of the month, so we thought we'd make it a 54 community event. Make sure to bring popcorn! For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EIGHTH GRADE FRISBEE & PIZZA FUN IN CENTRAL PARK September 25, 2021 @ 1pm RSVP
MEET POINT is the Pinetum at Central Park, enter at 85th Street on the West Side. Please bring picnic food, frisbees, and any games you enjoy playing. We’ll also have ten pizzas on hand to eat; first-come, first-serve, so get there early! The rain date is Sunday, September 26th.
EIGHTH GRADE HIGH SCHOOL MEETING October 4, 2021 @ 6:30pm REGISTER Rebecca Mansell, MS54's High School Articulation Specialist, will host a Zoom information session for 8th grade parents.
FULL REOPENING OF NYC SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC HEALTH September 20, 2021 @ 4pm REGISTER
The Fund for Public Schools and the Fund for Public Health NYC invite you to a conversation with NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter and NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. The Schools Chancellor and Health Commissioner will speak about the full reopening of public schools and the continued prioritization of the health and safety of students, families, and the community. Questions for Schools Chancellor Porter and Health Commissioner Chokshi may be submitted with your free event registration.
COMMUNITY EDUCATION COUNCIL DISTRICT 3 CALENDAR MEETING September 22, 2021 @ 6:30pm REGISTER
Zoom Virtual Meeting. For more info: cec3.org.
NEW NYC SCHOOLS ACCOUNT (NYSCA)
Families can now access the new NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) portal, which consolidates several important parent-facing applications in one place. In addition to seeing information for MyStudent, such as grades, attendance, and transportation, families will also be able to access Parent University and the Bullying Reporting online form. Parents can reset the passwords to their student’s DOE e-mail accounts through the Manage Account page; please note the change in URL from https://mystudent.nyc to https://schoolsaccount.nyc. Families who currently have a NYCSA account will automatically have access to new features in the portal.
DOE VACCINATION PORTAL
Please upload an image of your child’s vaccination card or NYC Excelsior Pass to the DOE’s vaccine portal at vaccine.schools.nyc. Submitting this information will support New York City’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, helping to ensure that our school communities remain safe and healthy.
COMMON DENOMINATOR APPLY Common Denominator is a non-profit organization that teaches middle school students to navigate and enjoy math through holistic assessments and skill development while instilling agency and math confidence at a critical age. It is offering free math tutoring, in-person and remote, to 5th - 8th graders.